All of your skills and knowledge will help your business grow. But there are other things that can influence your success. Some are subtle but powerful, such as first impressions or customer satisfaction.
Certain things you can’t change, but when you’re running a physical store, it’s important that customers get a good impression from the moment they enter. This is something you can use to stimulate growth.
Visual surroundings are always the first thing customers notice and react to. How your store is designed will have a big influence at a subconscious level. A visually appealing store helps customers feel trusting and at ease. But beyond aesthetics, how your store is laid out becomes part of your brand and the customer experience.
The front of the store should be open and inviting. Adequate lighting and clear lines of sight both encourage browsing and discourage shoplifting. Having a central checkout with plenty of space for impulse items will boost revenue.
Consider how you manage traffic flow.
- Utilize zone merchandising, where related items are grouped around popular merchandise.
- Power walls, usually located to the right, are hot spots designed to catch the customer’s eye with special deals.
- Speed bumps are overhead displays placed along primary zones to distract customer interest toward certain products.
- Store fixtures like counter tops, and both temporary and permanent displays, are intended to call close attention to particular products.
Product mapping is about learning where to place items to make the most of customer preferences. For instance, your best sellers should always be at the back of the store so that customers encounter your other displays.
Choosing a color scheme is also important. It should present the colors associated with your brand and industry. For example, green and earth tones might work better for lawn-and-garden stores, and bright colors for toy stores. But it’s also important that back-drops don’t clash with the colors of the merchandise itself. Well-planned color schemes invite shoppers to linger and increase the chance of purchases.
One of the most important visual clues is cleanliness. No matter what you’re selling, dirt, dust, and debris tell consumers that you’re unprofessional and uncaring. Clean stores are perceived as more trustworthy and offering greater value.
A friendly atmosphere makes a big difference. A simple “hello” isn’t enough. The greeting should make them feel welcome and appreciated. In order for someone to enjoy their time at your store, they want to engage with cheerful, caring people who are happy to provide help. Timing is also important; the customer should have a few moments to look around before being accosted by a sales person.
Employees should also be careful of their speech and conversations while on the sales floor. If customers are hearing things like arguments, foul language, and inappropriate remarks, the shopping experience becomes a negative one.
Music can also enhance your store’s atmosphere. The right music will improve the moods of both customers and employees. It makes wait times more tolerable, muffles noise, and can support your brand identity. Pleasant music provides a much better atmosphere than silence.
Music that is too loud or fast, on the other hand, becomes irritating. You want to pick songs that appeal to your target customers, not you or your staff. You should also be aware that it may be unlawful to use music for business purposes without permission. It could expose you to lawsuits.
Aromas are more important to mood and emotion than many people realize. Nobody wants to spend time in a dirty store, so the smell of floor polish and other cleaning products will reinforce the sense of a sanitary and safe environment. It’s also important to have filters in your ventilation system so that air quality is pure and fresh.
Pleasing fragrances are a key element to an enjoyable retail experience. Signature scents can also strengthen your brand through mental association. Although candles are traditionally used as a source of diffusing certain scents into the air, they involve a risk of fire. Incense sticks are stronger and safer, though they generally don’t last as long and liquid air fresheners and sprays may contain toxic chemicals, so do your research well.
Today there are many models and types of automated fresheners that release aromatic vapors reliably and consistently. They can also be used with timers to operate only during store hours so the fragrance lasts longer.
TOUCH and TASTE
Helping shoppers to feel comfortable is critical for encouraging them to take their time. Customers who stay longer and look closer will present more sales opportunities. Thus physical sensations can also be important to creating a sense of comfort. For example, chairs or benches that are placed in lounge areas or where people sit to wait on service or try on shoes should be comfortable. Cushioning and pleasing or interesting fabrics and textures are more inviting than cold, hard plastic, metal, or concrete.
Temperature is also important to physical comfort. Customers won’t stay long if the store is unpleasantly hot or cold. Somewhat above normal room temperature seems most conducive to spending money. It can depend on the products you sell, however. Very warm temperatures can boost sales of fans or swimsuits, while colder temperatures can encourage sales of items like heaters or fireplace accessories.
Pleasing a customer through their sense of taste is also a technique that shouldn’t be neglected. Providing customers with cool drinking water while they browse, or a few pieces of candy at checkout, are cheap but effective ways to please them and earn some goodwill.
In summary, important step to promote growth is to evaluate your store in terms of overall experience. That includes each of the five senses of the human body, such as visual layouts, pleasant odors, and friendly voices or pleasant music. Physical sensations like temperature, texture, and even taste can optimize the shopping experience. The more comfortable people are in your store, the more time they’ll spend shopping.